U.S. stocks and exchange traded funds (ETFs) are in positive territory this morning paring losses in the market’s first weekly drop in almost two months on good news that infiltrated enthusiasm in the state of the overall economy.
Earnings reports by Ford Motor Co. (F) indicated losses that were less than expected and that the company burned through far less cash than expected, sending the stock price up about 19% in morning trading. Ford posted a loss of $0.75/share, much narrower than the $1.24/share loss expected.
Additionally, American Express (AXP) smoked analyst expectations by reporting first quarter profits of $0.32/share, more than double the average analyst estimate. To add icing to the cake, Microsoft (MSFT) by reporting a smaller drop in third-quarter earnings than expected and predicting bigger cost savings. The software giant reported profits of $0.33/share.
On a sour note, conglomerate 3M (MMM) missed Wall Street’s expectations by posting earnings of $0.81/share falling a bit short of the $0.86/share forecasted. These results were fueled by lower demand by U.S. consumers for goods.
Purchases of new homes in the United States were higher than anticipated, indicating that the housing market may be heading in the right direction. The Commerce department reported that sales decreased 0.6% to an annual pace of 356,000 after a 358,000 rate in February, sales prices dropped 12% from a year ago and inventories of unsold homes hit a seven year low, states Bob Willis of Bloomberg. Analysts expected sales in the ballpark of 340,000.
Hopes that the economic slowdown is coming to a halt were further supported by reports made by the Commerce Department indicating that orders for durable goods dropped 0.8% last month, a far narrower decline than the 1.5% expected by analysts. This small drop followed a 2.1% increase seen in February and is showing a little life in manufacturing, states Martin Crutsinger of the Associated Press.
Today is the day that some of the nation’s 19 largest financial institutions will receive their results of the federaral government’s stress tests. On the plus side, these results could ignite a rally in the sector. On the negative side, it could provide clues as to which banks are in trouble. One thing is for sure: The tests will determine if banks have enough money reserved to withstand losses and if more help is needed, states Daniel Wagner of the Associated Press.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained about 1%, the S&P 500 added nearly 1.2% and the Nasdaq jumped 1.7% in morning trading.
Kevin Grewal contributed to this article.
The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.